By Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

Whether you are working with a buyer or a seller, your clients want a property that offers the most value for the money. Of course, many factors go into determining a home’s value, including the location, neighborhood, schools, safety, floorplan, and whether it has been updated, to name a few.

But there’s another important feature that is sometimes overlooked – the family yard which has rapidly become an extension of the home. Here are the top four ways family yards and other living landscapes add value to a property and extend the usefulness of the home.

  • Curb Appeal
    As you know, curb appeal is an important factor in determining overall property value. After all, the first impression on a home is made before buyers even walk through the door! According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2016 Remodeling Impact: Outdoor Features study, 99% of Realtors® have suggested that sellers improve their curb appeal before putting their home on the market, and 98% think curb appeal is important to potential buyers. That’s good advice. Studies show that improving overall curb appeal, which includes a beautiful lawn and landscape, can boost property values by as much as 17% (source: Texas Tech University).
  • Trees are Tops

Mature trees are often an indicator of an established neighborhood, which can be a positive for buyers looking for an older, classic home. But the value of trees goes beyond perception and preference and right into the pocketbook of your clients. According to the International Society of Arboriculture, each front yard tree adds 1% to a homeowner’s sale price, while large specimen trees can add as much as 10% to property values.

  • Saving Green with Green

Potential buyers often ask about the energy efficiency of a home, and it turns out that living landscapes impact the monthly electric bill.

According to the Urban Forest Coalition, 100 million mature trees around U.S. residences save approximately $2 billion annually in reduced energy costs. In fact, strategically placed trees can save up to 56% on annual air conditioning bills. In the wintertime, evergreens that block winter winds can save 3% on heating (source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service). There’s even a National Tree Benefit Calculator (TreeBenefits.com/calculator/) your clients can use to estimate the economic and environmental value trees provide on an annual basis.

Cumulatively, eight average-sized front lawns can provide the cooling equivalent to air-conditioning for 18 homes (source: Alliance for Water Efficiency).

  • Expanding Living Space
    Yards can be outdoor family rooms, and are increasingly important to families who want a safe, inviting place for their kids and pets to play almost year-round. Merging indoor and outdoor living to increase living space is trending, making outdoor living space important for home buyers. But just how much can a seller expect to recover from ensuring a useful outdoor living area? According to NAR survey, any cost to enhance outdoor living is well worth it.

Seeding the family yard will recover 417% of the project cost, while updating landscape with sod will result in a 143% recovery. For homeowners who want to take on more of a project, adding a new patio will recover 102% of their investment and a new wooden deck will result in a 106% recovery rate.

One final note: a systematic research review concluded that knowing and experiencing nature makes people generally happier and healthier. Since nature starts in our own backyards, it’s fair to assume that the family yard contributes to overall well-being. This is priceless, whether your client is looking for a new place to call home or is just settling in to their new property.

For more information, including infographics and fact sheets you can share with your clients, visit www.LivingLandscapesMatter.com.